Grounding exercises help people neutralize stress and embrace their environment. They restore your awareness of the present moment, creating stability during moments when you might experience heightened anxiety. Grounding restores your focus to the present by emphasizing elements of your world that you can see and control.
There are many types of grounding, all rooted in mental and physical health. Unlike many other mental health techniques, grounding exercises fit nearly any setting. You can perform a grounding activity at work, at home, or in transit. Alongside other coping mechanisms, grounding exercises are effective against anxiety, PTSD, and trauma.
Grounding Exercises and Their Role in Mental and Physical Health
Grounding exercises make people more aware of their mental health, surroundings, and their own bodies. They help improve your mood and divert attention away from negative thoughts or memories.
Participating in grounding exercises can also impact physical health. They can help reduce inflammation and promote more effective wound healing. In some circumstances, grounding exercises can also elevate energy levels and enhance the quality of your sleep.
Examples of Grounding Exercises
Grounding exercises are a quick, easy way to focus your mind. Even children can participate in grounding exercises that help promote a peaceful, positive attitude. This teaches people from a young age how to focus the mind and understand one’s own identity.
No matter your age, it’s never too late to participate in grounding exercises. They can teach children, teens, and adults how to master their emotions and avoid impulsive reactions.
Daily affirmations are statements that confirm your value, purpose, and mission. They empower positive thinking and self-worth. Affirmations are spoken or listened to daily and help to challenge negative thoughts about yourself or the world around you.
Among other habits, daily affirmations are meant to become part of your routine. They provide extra motivation no matter where you use them. Many people listen to daily affirmations in the morning, perhaps in the car. Others speak them into the mirror to begin the day.
Here are some affirmations to say daily:
- I deserve love and respect.
- I am a strong, resilient person.
- I am growing. I am not a finished product.
- I trust the support I receive from my friends, family members, and loved ones.
- I take care of my body, my mind, and my spirit.
- I deserve the abundance I experience in my life.
- I am capable of achieving the goals I set.
- I am grateful for the opportunities I receive.
- I feel peace in the decision I make.
- I choose to let go of negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Daily affirmations are simple “I” statements that ground you in positivity. They restructure your thinking patterns around your ability to make a difference.
Different breathing techniques offer a host of mental health benefits. For example, deep diaphragmatic breathing can relax the body and improve attention. Controlled breathing also has a direct, positive effect on relieving stress.
Certain breathing exercises also offer physical health benefits. These benefits can include reduced blood pressure, improved immune system functionality, and balanced oxygen in the blood.
Here are a few breathing techniques you can practice:
- Box breathing: Inhaling, holding your breath, exhaling, and holding your breath — all to a count of four. This breathing method helps to reduce stress and is particularly discreet, making it perfect for public places like work or travel.
- Deep breathing: Inhaling through the nose, briefly holding the breath, then exhaling fully through the nose. Deep breathing follows a controlled pace and helps control your heart rate during particularly anxious situations.
- Alternate nostril breathing: A common yoga technique where you block one nostril and inhale through the other. Then, you exhale through the opposite nostril while blocking the first one. This technique requires focus and is sometimes attributed with improving concentration.
- 4-7-8 breathing: Inhaling through your nose and counting to four, before holding the breath for seven seconds and exhaling for eight through the mouth. Many people use 4-7-8 breathing before sleep to achieve a state of relaxation.
These and other breathing techniques are popular grounding exercises. They can improve your focus and reset your frame of mind to the present moment.
Unplug From Technology
We live in a world that is heavily reliant on technology. Smartphones deliver instant information, email enables instant communication, and social media connects you with anyone and everyone. Despite the many ways that technology improves life, it’s important to unplug once in a while.
Unplugging from technology — starting with your phone — reconnects you with your environment. It introduces a perspective you might miss if you’re over-reliant on technology. Disconnecting from email, social media, and app notifications can be a freeing, refreshing, and grounding experience.
Putting down technology, even for a few minutes, is a powerful exercise in grounding. It restores your connection to your surroundings and to the people and places that matter in your life.
Hone Into Your Five Senses
Unplugging from technology has another benefit — it helps you focus on each of your five senses. Each sense adds to the way you connect to the world. Honing your senses is a productive grounding exercise, one that can improve your appreciation for your environment.
Here’s how the five senses connect you to your surroundings:
- Sight: Vision that allows you to identify the people, places, and things you care about.
- Smell: Familiar and new aromas that provide more context on your location or the items in front of you.
- Taste: Sweet, savory, sour, salty, or bitter flavors from foods and beverages you consume.
- Touch: Textures and sensations you can feel with your fingers and nerves on your skin.
- Hearing: Sounds from people, animals, and other items that might include voices or the movements of your own body.
Considering one sense at a time is a great grounding technique. This can teach you to isolate sight, smell, or other senses and explore your environment through that sense. Focusing on one sense, then the next, slowly improves your sense of place and awareness.
Say a Prayer
Exploring your spirituality can help connect you with your surroundings in a powerful way. Prayer allows you to reflect on the people and places that matter to you. It provides an excellent perspective on life and allows you to seek, and find, a sense of inner fulfillment.
Prayer creates an opportunity to express emotions like joy, thankfulness, and hope. It also fosters mindfulness, which is particularly useful when life might feel stressful or unfulfilling. Many people use prayer as an opportunity to express gratitude, consider different perspectives, or ask for help in a certain situation.
Meditation is another way that many people connect with their spiritual side. People often practice meditation and yoga at the same time, though both activities are unique. Yoga refers to specific poses or body movements that improve flexibility and balance. Meditation is a mental, often spiritual exercise, which requires a peaceful mind and attention to the here and now.
Meditation cultivates a sense of intentional focus. It means silencing the mind, particularly any racing thoughts, and releasing distractions.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your next meditation session:
- Find a silent place, free from distractions.
- Begin with brief, informal meditation sessions to learn the basics.
- practice deep, repeated breathing patterns.
- Follow guided meditations that focus your attention and mind.
- Be patient with your body and mind.
Many people meditate as a regular part of their wind-down routine. During the evening, meditation can help quiet your mind and prepare the body for rest. Other people meditate to begin the day, focusing on a positive attitude and a sense of accomplishment.